Five Lies It’s OK to Tell Your Children

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About Thomas G. Fiffer

Thomas G. Fiffer, Ethics Editor at The Good Men Project, is a graduate of Yale and holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He posts daily on his blog, Tom Aplomb, and serves as Editor of Westport's HamletHub, a local online news and information service. He is also a featured storyteller with MouseMuse Productions and is working on his first novel.


  1. Question: Are these lies you consider acceptable to tell the 4-y-o, the 7-y-o, the 11-y-o or the teenager? I think it makes a big difference. My 14-y-o son is much more capable of processing complex truths than he was at 4 or 7. His BS detector is far more developed, and he’s also far less forgiving of rationales adults give him for the untruths or hypocrisies it detects. It will be OK. In the end, it will. This is truth to me. Magic is real. Also truth–but not the magic we associate with Walt Disney films or other Hollywood myths. Magic is a child meeting a sports idol who turns out to be greater as a man or woman than an athlete. It is serendipity. The changing of the seasons.

    And sometimes there is no hope. It is simply time to move forward and open new doors, and our youth need to be taught this, and even more important, to be shown by example.

    One time when it is always okay to lie: when doing so spares another’s feelings without causing other forms of harm.

    Just my thoughts.

    • Ben, I agree with you on all counts. As kids grow older, our stance as parents has to shift. I love the idea that magic is meeting a sports idol or other role model who exceeds expectations and has a lasting impact on a child’s life. Teaching our kids to cut their losses when there’s no hope of turning things around is also important. I certainly don’t want my sons to stay in an unhealthy relationship or situation out of delusion or false hope. Your last point about feelings is an excellent one. Sharing information that hurts others rarely does any good, unless we’re exposing criminal behavior or morally bankrupt behavior, in which case we’re acting to protect victims.

      • Thanks Thomas. I appreciate the reply. Let me just add that quite often I feel like simply getting my teenager through the next few years will be the ultimate magical act.


  1. […] Five Lies It’s OK to Tell Your Children by Thomas G. Fiffer (1278 words) Shocking Revelation: The Good Men Project’s ethics editor lies to his kids. ___ One of my favorite childhood memories is of my Uncle Mike coming to our house for dinner. […]

  2. […] If I told you that lying is a necessary part of good parenting, you’d probably think I’m crazy. But it may be true, according to The Good Men Project. […]

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